Food heroes recognised in national awards
Written by John Williamson on 20/09/2021
Blackpool Council’s Catering Services team is celebrating after being named Team of the Year in the Public Sector Catering Awards.
The team, headed up by Catering Service Manager Derek Wright, were recognised for their response to the pandemic ensuring that our most vulnerable residents were supported.
48 hours after an initial meeting on 19 March 2020 the Food Distribution Centre at Stanley Park Sports Centre was operational thanks to fantastic partnership working between leisure and catering services. Blackpool’s Catering Service ensured free school meals were offered to every school by working with local suppliers to secure stock at a very challenging time, with over 3000 parcels equating to 15,000 meals going into schools in the first week alone.
Throughout 2020 the dedicated team continued to supply hot, nutritious, school compliant meals. In 202 distributed to the most vulnerable in our community – 35,178 Free School Meal parcels equating to 175,890 Free School Meals, 3,076 family food parcels equating to 258,384 meals and 5,111 adult parcels equating to 107,331 meals.
The summer months didn’t provide any respite either as they continued to work with passion and determination through the school holidays providing an additional 12,058 Holiday Hunger Meals to support young people.
Cllr Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member with responsibility for catering, said: “Everyone at Blackpool Council is so proud of Derek and his team. During the pandemic they have been a lifeline for school pupils, their families and the wider community.
“Not only have they managed to deliver an unbelievable amount of meals but they have also managed to continue with their plans to create a Chef’s Academy for year 10 and 11 pupils. The first pupils have already started at the academy and we look forward to formally launching it in the coming months.